By Kelly Koepke
Delicious food, simple and homey atmosphere, and friendly service are the hallmarks of Katrinah’s East Mountain Grill in Edgewood. And by delicious, I mean lick your fingers and sop up the juices with bread kind of yummy.
Kathy Schuit, co-owner of the restaurant with her daughter Kristine, didn’t mind. “We thought the menu was great and saw that customers liked everything,” she says. “We’ve added some things, but mostly the menu is the same.”
Changes are coming, though. Many of the current specials will find their way onto a new menu that will debut in the fall. Steaks, steak quesadillas, and the steak “bomb,” a Philly cheese steak-style sandwich, represent customers’ love of and desire for meat. Kathy cuts all the steaks herself.
One of the restaurant’s most popular items is the Thunder Burger, a deep fried burger with green chile and cheese mixed in the patty. “Guys love it,” Schuit says.
“But any of the burgers can be made vegetarian with Portobello mushrooms. All our sauces, beans, and rice are vegetarian. We also have gluten free options, including the green chile.”
Soups, too, are made from scratch, and do Mark and Carol Lowry (the former proprietors), proud. Kathy beamed when I complimented the calabacitas soup. “That’s a good one, isn’t it? Mark was known as a soup master, and we’re continuing the tradition.”
Serendipity, and a desire to carry on a tradition of reasonably priced eating geared to local folks, brought Schuit and the Lowrys together. Kathy and Kristine often visited the restaurant for afternoon dessert.
One day, a notice appeared on the door that the restaurant would be closing. The next day, Kathy met Carol by chance, and before she could stop herself, offered to buy the place.
“It all fell into place so easily, that it was meant to be,” Schuit says. “We reopened within a month and it’s now two years later. We’re so grateful to our local customers, because we depend on the community. That’s why we have to have a good product all the time.”
Among the attractions of the grill are the Starbucks coffee bar (with drive through window!) and the fresh baked muffins, pies, and other goodies. Original photography and paintings by local artists add a homey touch to the sweet pea colored walls and lavender bathrooms. Everything’s orchestrated by a loyal staff of 18.
Kathy herself sees her ownership of a restaurant as a return to her roots. She was a server in high school and through college. She’s managed restaurants in Albuquerque and the now- closed Galisteo Inn for five years. She and a partner owned and managed Alta Mae’s Heritage Inn Bed and Breakfast in Edgewood for two years before selling to the current owner.
The prospect of a venture with her daughter especially appealed to her, though Kristine isn’t around the grill much these days. Kristine runs a busy horse business, and wrangles her two-year-old daughter, Kyrah. The name Katrinah is a contraction of all three names.
“It’s hard to keep track of a toddler,” says proud grandmother Kathy. Considering the care and obvious love that goes into the food, there’s no doubt that Katrinah’s East Mountain Grill would be a great home for anyone. Or at least a great place to arrive at mealtime.
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